God, I pray that you prepare the hearts of the 53 young athletes that have registered to our sports camp. Please help us challenge them and help them practically in their walk with you. God let us have fun and let us grow together in cabin devotions and relevant talks. Keep us [...]
“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous . . .” (Psalm 15:1-2)
David begins to answer his own question about the kind of lives God-worshipping people lead. And the answer seems a little too obvious at first glance: Don’t do bad and do good. Be “blameless” and do “what is righteous.” Right.
But think about it. To be blameless has to do with your reputation with your friends and family. How do the people in your school or your hometown think of you? Sincere God-worshippers should not be known as liars or people who disrespect their parents or people who get in trouble regularly. That doesn’t fit the image of someone who “lives with God.”
But it’s not enough to just be the guy or girl who never does anything wrong. I know lots of Christians that define “living for God” by all the nasty things they don’t do. That’s not living! That’s just sitting around. People who live for — and with — God are people who do things that can be called good.
Think: None of us is perfectly blameless or righteous, yet. What are some blame-worthy things you need to start punting from your life? What are some good things you can find to do more of?
Pray: Ask God to help you want to bring Him glory by living a blameless, good-doing life.
Do: Ask someone you trust and who also trusts Jesus if there’s anything obvious in your life that is “blameable.” If you’re still feeling bold after that, ask if he or she has noticed any of the good things you’ve been doing.
“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1)
Psalm 15 is not just about discovering the code to living unshakable lives; it’s about something much deeper. It answers the questions in today’s verse — what kind of life does God want from us?
God dealt differently with His people then. God’s place on earth was in the tabernacle (or sanctuary) on Zion, Jerusalem, God’s “holy hill.” David was asking what it takes to be worthy to come before God and worship Him, to be His guest, to spend time with Him.
Of course, those of us in Christ understand that nobody is worthy of living with God forever because of our sin. We must first be forgiven through faith in Jesus to be granted a spot in the eternal choir of worshippers in the new Zion. But David’s questions still matter to us.
How do worshippers of God live? What’s their code? What choices of ours does God really care about?
Think: Does it matter to God how Christian live now if we’ve already be forgiven for our sin through faith in Jesus?
Pray: Ask God to give you a deep passion to be a person of everyday integrity.
Do: Look up the definitions of “character” and “integrity” in an online dictionary. Copy and paste them into an e-mail and send it to yourself.
[ September 24, 2010 to September 26, 2010. ] Sex – it’s not all pretty and glamorous as porn, media and the culture makes it out to be.
Co-erced, forced, beaten, raped, helpless, pain, suffering, lost, broken, trapped… these are words that are associated with those who find themselves in a situation where they’ve been trafficked (sold, forced) into the sex industry.
Join us for [...]
“He who does these things will never be shaken.” (Psalm 15:5)
Old West gunfighters. Mafia and kung fu guys on TV. Marines. All these guy’s guys are said to live their lives by a code. They don’t always do good things — and sometimes they do evil things — but they’re famous for honoring some kind of code for what’s okay and what’s not.
In Psalm 15, King David of Israel describes a code to live by. It’s not the Ten Commandments; it’s not the Law. In 5 short verses, he describes a life code to live by that accomplishes two things: First and most important, it’s the life God wants to see in His people. The second result of following the code pops up in the last sentence, today’s verse: “He who does these things will never be shaken.”
The boring word I’m trying not to use here is “character.” A person of character lives by a code of right and wrong, doing things that please God and skipping those that don’t. Even in the worst moments of life, that code tells him or her how to live in a way that is not worthless.
John Holt put it this way: “The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” Stay tuned this week to learn David’s code for an unshakable life.
Think: Is it necessarily noble to live by a code if it’s the wrong code? How do we know a good code from a worthless one?
Pray: Ask God to help you want to be a person of character. Ask Him to help you live in a way that pleases Him.
Do: Write down one or two Do’s and Don’ts you would include if you were building your own code for life.
“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16-17)
Tradition tells us that all of the disciples were eventually killed for preaching about Jesus, as was Paul. John may have outlived them all. Most scholars think he wrote this book somewhere around 90 A.D. and was later exiled to an island prison. (That’s where he wrote the book of Revelation.) He and many other early Christians lived difficult, persecuted lives.
So how can he say that “we have all received one blessing after another” from Jesus’ grace? Three quick ideas:
1) John was looking beyond life in this fallen, painful world. By Jesus’ grace, every believer can expect to spend forever in God’s blessing.
2) John was showing how much fuller and more joyful life is when lived according to Jesus’ grace than under the burden of Moses’ law.
3) John realized that every good thing — from a simple meal to our most cherished relationships — is a gift from God. Jesus’ half-brother James said that everything in our lives that can be called “good” comes from God. (James 1:17)
Think: How often do you give God the credit for the good things in your life? Why is it a sign of God’s grace when we experience anything that can be labeled “good”?
Pray: Ask God to help you to be grateful more often for all the blessings He gives you through Jesus.
Do: Make a list of 20 “blessings” you’ve experienced this week that you can give credit to God for. Then give Him credit for them.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ” (John 1:14)
Jesus, the Word, the logos, became flesh. As God, Jesus had always existed, but now He had become one of us (without becoming any less of God). And He didn’t come to visit for a holiday. He wasn’t a curious god on vacation. He “made his dwelling” here. He lived here. He experienced every temptation humans do. He worked Himself to exhaustion. He slept, ate, and waited. He made friends and went to dinner parties. He told the truth.
He was human.
John reports that he and others saw Jesus, the Word, with their own eyes. And not just Him, but His glory. (Is John talking about the transfiguration that he and two other disciples witnessed as described in Matthew 17?) He reports that everything Jesus claimed is true. He really did come from God the Father. And He did come with grace — free forgiveness of sin for all you believe and receive. Jesus is the truth. John saw it all.
Think: If you were describing Jesus from your own personal eyewitness point of view, what would you have to report about Him? What difference has He made in your own personal life that you can point to as evidence of His grace and truth?
Pray: Thank God for what Jesus has done for you.
Do: Write down a few bullet points of your experience with Jesus. What has He done in your life? How has knowing God through Him changed you?
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As all 5th graders know, that’s from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Our founders believed God had granted these rights to every single human being.
But God grants another right not listed here — and contrary to what many of us think, it’s not a right He gives to everyone. He only gives this special right to people who “receive him” and “believe in his name.” More specifically, it is a God-given right limited to those who believe Jesus is God and receive Him as Savior. Those who do not believe Jesus is God don’t get this right. Those who do not receive Jesus as their only hope to be with God do not get this right. Believe and receive, John says.
Then and only then will Jesus give us the right to be God’s children, to be included in His own family, to belong with Him in heaven forever. It is not a right we earn. And we do not make ourselves God’s children by believing and receiving. We are given the right and God immediately signs the adoption papers. We are His kids now.
Think: How do you feel about the idea that the right to be God’s child is not given freely to everyone no matter what they believe? Are you grateful to God for adopting you?
Pray: Thank God for helping you to believe in Jesus’ name and to receive Him as the only way to be with God forever. (If you haven’t done that, what are you waiting for?)
Do: Make a short list of your God-given rights, as best as you understand them.
[ August 15, 2010 to August 20, 2010. ] Are you a baller? Of course we mean Soccer or Basket ball player. Maybe you’re a good ol’ Canadian hockey player. If so, you’ll totally want to get in on the action at our Senior Sports Camp from August 15th – 20th.
We’ve got specialized sports programs, discussion topics, and interactive media experiences geared just for [...]